We also want to kill Lake Victoria?


It is a sad occasion for Kenyan lakes as they seem to be disappearing one by one.

With the warming up of the climate, lakes such as Nakuru which is a major tourist attraction for its elegant flamingos and Naivasha – which boasts a wealth of birdlife – are almost no more.

The lakes, once popular for their great attractions, now have visitors crowding in disbelief to see their diminished state.

And sadly, Lake Victoria which can be termed as Africa’s treasure and the source of Nile River, the longest in the world stretching from East Africa to the Mediterranean, is also on the verge of ruin.

This has got nothing to do with climate change but unreasonable human activities such as car washing on the shores of the lake, direct effluent discharge, washing of clothes and all other sorts of unauthorised activities which left me wondering why the relevant authorities are still on the pay roll.

I visited the lake over the weekend and I still can’t believe that some of these illegal activities have been going on for almost 20 years under the ‘watchful’ eye of the local authorities. Some of the people in the car wash business told me they have worked there since 1990.

What has the Municipal council of Kisumu been doing all this time? Why haven’t they stopped these activities that threaten the life of the lake? If the car washes have been licensed why at the shores of the lake and if they are unauthorised why have they been allowed to operate illegally for all these years?

I can’t help but wonder whether there is an individual or groups of individuals who are benefiting from this illegal business at the expense of Kenyans and the rest of the continent that relies on this lake for various economic activities.

Lake Victoria, rich in fish life and also home to the large Nile Perch attracts lots of visitors but if the current trend continues we will once again lose a huge economic resource.

It’s time that all the lead agencies including National Environment Management Authority (NEMA),  Ministry of fisheries, Municipal Council of Kisumu, Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company took action to stop further pollution of this African delight.

I feel if John Hanning Speke, the English explorer who discovered Lake Victoria was alive today; he would be disheartened by his discovery.

(Catherine Karong’o is the health and science reporter at 98.4 Capital FM)

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